German specialist pipe fabricator EEW SPC has produced a 10-metre-diameter cylindrical steel section from a single plate, giving a shot in the arm to the development of so-called “XL” monopiles for offshore wind turbines.
The Rostock-based company used a
newly-installed Haeusler bending machine
to manufacture the ring from a plate measuring 31.4 metres long, three
metres wide and 95mm thick.
Current monopiles have diameters of up to around six metres,
limiting the foundations to water depths of around 30 metres. To move the
technology into waters of 40 metres or more, monopiles would have to be around
eight metres in diameter and 70 metres long.
“EEW SPC is equipped for the production of XL monopiles in the future. The XL monopiles
increase the usage of foundation structures for offshore wind farms up to a
water depth of 40 metres, and therefore currently are the most reasonable
foundation structure available,” says the company.
“EEW SPC is expecting to receive first enquiries for
projects with diameters of up to nine metres already this year.”
Development of XL monopiles will put the squeeze on the
steel jackets and concrete gravity base foundation concepts that have
been taking shape to cover the 30-50-metre water depth wind farm market.
EEW SPC has built a new production hall that will allow it
to begin producing XL monopiles in their entire length by the end of next year.